The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit by the Speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan, on Tuesday, December 6, 2016, during a ceremony on the West Front Lawn beginning at 5 p.m. "The Capitol Christmas Tree brings with it a spirit of community, and the start of the season of generosity and cheer. We're excited to light the tree, and grateful to all those who have taken part in its journey all the way from Idaho," said Speaker Ryan.
Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, will serve as master of ceremonies. The Architect of the Capitol selects the tree, in consultation with the United States Forest Service.
This year's tree was selected from the Payette National Forest in Idaho. The 80 foot Engelmann Spruce is sponsored by the Idaho Congressional Delegation led by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo. "Having been cut from our own Payette National Forest, the Capitol Christmas Tree will display the greatness of Idaho's outdoors," said Senator Crapo. "Along with Isabella, who will help light the tree, and handmade ornaments from communities across the state, the people of Idaho will collectively help usher in a holiday season of goodwill in our nation's capital," he said. Boise, Idaho fifth-grade student, Isabella Gerard, was randomly selected to assist in lighting the tree.
The Capitol Christmas Tree was harvested near McCall, Idaho on November 2, 2016, and will make a 2,500-mile journey from Idaho to Washington, D.C. The tree will make stops in communities along the route to the U.S. Capitol.
The tree will arrive at the U.S. Capitol on Monday, November 28, 2016. The Architect of the Capitol's Capitol Grounds team will secure the tree to the ground and decorate it with thousands of handcrafted ornaments from communities across Idaho.
The annual lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree is a time-honored tradition of more than 50 years. The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11 p.m. each evening through December 25, 2016.